Viking saddle water

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Viking saddle water

Postby mtrain » Sun 18 Mar, 2018 8:55 pm

I’ve been thinking of doing the Viking circuit again this Easter and was curious about the water situation at Viking saddle. Has anyone been there recently and got water or is it easier to carry it up from the Wonnangatta. also how about water near Catherine saddle and camp creek near mt speculation.
Thanks.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Xplora » Mon 19 Mar, 2018 4:41 am

Camp creek water is one of the most reliable in the mountains. There should be enough to fill. If that one goes dry then we there is no hope of water elsewhere. Can't help with the Viking.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 19 Mar, 2018 7:31 am

If Camp Creek is dry then the smaller creeks such as mac Springs, Hellfire Gully and others will probably be dry. Summer has been average to dry for this region, and some water may be a fair way down. These two threads may assist.
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=26789
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26959
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 20 Mar, 2018 2:15 pm

I have postponed an Easter walk in that region due to dry conditions. I think the KNP in NSW will be a better bet. The water should be flowing at Valentine's hut/falls/Creek.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby _ro » Wed 21 Mar, 2018 10:07 pm

I'm planning the same walk clockwise and was going to ask the same question.

So do we think if Mac springs is flowing, then Camp Creek should be ok?

I'll fill up at Camp Creek with enough water to get me to the Wonnangatta rather than risk Viking Saddle, unless I hear otherwise.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby mtrain » Thu 22 Mar, 2018 8:49 pm

Thanks for those replies.
I had thought I’d carry water up from the Wonnangatta which I think is what I did last time. Or maybe do it as you said and carry from camp creek.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 22 Mar, 2018 9:47 pm

Camp Creek is very reliable. There's a nice little watershed for a few hundred metres distance up the creek, and reasonably wide slopes on both sides. Only after the driest summers would Camp Creek cease to run.

The lack of certain water between Camp Creek and the Wonnangatta is problematic whichever way one walks. This lack of water means carrying upwards of 7-10 kilograms of water, enough for most of two days. KNP looks nicer, and perhaps visit the Viking in spring. I did this one year and we got snowed on. On that trip a few very hardy souls walked from South Viking, Viking, Despair, Spec, Crosscut and arrived at Mac Springs after dark in an advanced state of decay.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby _ro » Thu 05 Apr, 2018 7:10 pm

For those playing at home, I found some damp rocks south-west of Viking Saddle quite a ways down. I didn't continue to see if I could find a trickle as I'd had enough of scrub bashing for the day. Apparently there was some, coming out from under a dead roo. Glad I carried in!

mtrain nice to meet you on the saddle! Did you find any water at Catherine Saddle? That looked more promising on the way up, with a few muddy puddles on the 4x4 track.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby bernieq » Mon 09 Apr, 2018 7:30 pm

Do you realise, _ro, that the considerably more reliable water source is down the NE of the Viking Saddle ?

You'll find a description at : viewtopic.php?f=64&t=25303

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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby mtrain » Thu 12 Apr, 2018 2:54 am

Nice to meet you as well Ro. The water at Mac springs was fine and then down in the Wonnangatta we bumped into a group coming from Viking saddle who advised that the water source was minuscule and coming out from under a dead animal so we carried water up.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby bernieq » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 11:19 am

Just confirming, as of 26 Apr, Viking Saddle is dry - no water at the usually reliable point (1070m contour, down the NE side) nor a bit further down at the base of the 20m drop.

There was, however, good water at Camp Creek and Mac Springs - a normal flow rate for this time of year.

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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 2:17 pm

Thanks bernieq.
As long as there's not significant early snow I'm hoping to do the Viking circuit from Upper Howqua in late May/early June (pre-road closures). Hopefully some decent autumn rain arrives in the next few weeks. There was a massive amount of rain at Buller a couple of weeks ago but I guess it wasn't enough to get the saddle flowing for long.
You didn't happen to notice if there was any water at Catherine Saddle did you? I've never stopped to look for water there but I believe there's supposed to be a reasonably reliable source.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby bernieq » Mon 30 Apr, 2018 8:59 pm

Hi Drew,

Yes, the 150mm at Buller was not enough to recharge the spring that feeds the Viking saddle source - we hauled water from Camp Creek past the saddle and up onto the Viking - a great campsite off to the south.

No, I've never looked for water at Catherine saddle - as you, I have not had the need.

BTW, there is now a rope in the hole on the climb up the Viking - although the reason why escapes me. It's much easier (and faster) to climb around and over the log (on the true right).

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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Wed 02 May, 2018 9:31 am

we hauled water from Camp Creek past the saddle and up onto the Viking - a great campsite off to the south.


Nice! I'd love to camp up there, it's one of my favourite summits. Any photos of your campsite? I seem to remember seeing a few tent spots near the summit and thinking that they looked quite small and the ground looked pretty hard for pegs. Any problems getting a spot for a large footprint tent that needs good anchoring (not freestanding)?

BTW, there is now a rope in the hole on the climb up the Viking - although the reason why escapes me. It's much easier (and faster) to climb around and over the log (on the true right).


I've been up twice (a few years apart) and there's been a rope in place both times. I found it fairly easy using the rope, but haven't tried not using it.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 02 May, 2018 10:46 am

Ropes deteriorate with age. Ropes that are in situ should not be relied on for support by people. I’d risk such a rope for packs, but that’s all. Without a pack the ascent and descent is straightforward, and I have never used a rope to assist progress up or down. I use the true right chute on The Viking.

Climate change is causing some water sources high on mountains to cease or have low flow rates, especially towards the end of summer. Lack of water in such places makes walks much harder in that water must be carried in case the water source is not viable. Might there be a case for such places to have tanks?
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby bernieq » Wed 02 May, 2018 5:02 pm

I've checked my records and the last time I was up the Viking chute was in 2011, twice (time flies) - I don't recall the rope then (but I don't use the hole so maybe I just didn't notice).

Going up the chute, before moving under the chockstone that forms the hole, move left (to the true right) and climb around the nose of the narrow rocky bit, then climb up and over the big log (with a notch for your foot) wedged in the crevice. It's easier than climbing up the hole (with or without a pack on).
Viking chute.JPG
Viking chute


Plenty of space at our campsite (which is off the summit) and no problem with pegs - quite sheltered but with great views.
Viking camp.JPG
Viking campsite


What's your planned route up out of the Wonnangatta, Drew? If you want detailed info on campsite, track conditions, alternatives to Zeka Track, pm me.

Lophophaps wrote:Might there be a case for such places to have tanks?
It's a wilderness area - just sayin' :?

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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Wed 02 May, 2018 6:08 pm

I found it fairly easy using the rope, but haven't tried not using it.


Actually, now that I think about it I might not have used the rope. I've definitely been through the chute both times but don't remember using the rope to pull myself through. I think I scrambled up and had pack passed up behind me. Anyway, I'll have a look at the non-chute option next time!

The campsite looks great - much better than the little gravelly clearings on the summit that I had in mind.


What's your planned route up out of the Wonnangatta, Drew? If you want detailed info on campsite, track conditions, alternatives to Zeka Track, pm me.


Last time I did the John Chapman route which was great (a lot nicer than the road) but I'm curious about the one that starts further upstream too. Have you done that one?

Might there be a case for such places to have tanks?


Yes, it is a wilderness area. But maybe in time if rainfall patterns change we might need to reconsider? Problem is that you need a roof to fill a tank, which means a building.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 02 May, 2018 6:15 pm

SW Tassie is a wilderness, and the OLT is promoted as wilderness. The former has tracks, bridges, toilets and more that are not natural. The latter has 8-9000 people a year, a major track, many side tracks, and huts. I am unable to see that a tank and a track would compromise wilderness values. A track would keep all traffic in one place, and a tank would make a walk much easier, while the walk would still be beyond perhaps 95% of all bushwalkers. Note that PV has cleared tracks in this region, including on The Razor and on The Viking. It's still wild and remote country.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby bernieq » Wed 02 May, 2018 9:03 pm

Yeah, well, we're not going to agree on this (which is OK)

Lophophaps wrote:8-9000 people a year, a major track, many side tracks, and huts
IMO that's not wilderness - just because it's marketed as wilderness doesn't make it so. It was wilderness decades ago but that's well gone now - you have to duck the choppers ferrying out in the food and ferrying out the poo (hopefully in that order :shock:)

The 'scary' wilderness signs for the Razor-Viking Wilderness Zone state that there are no markers and no defined tracks. However, the cutting and marking of the track through the zone was done because people were becoming lost - fair enough, imo. However, for me, it reduces the sense of 'wilderness'. A tank to make it 'easier' would be another step away from 'wilderness' and would bring more people to the area (another step again). The thin edge of the 'huts on the Diamantina' wedge.


Drew wrote: I'm curious about the one that starts further upstream too. Have you done that one?
I've been up two different spurs upstream and down one (down is definitely easier). This trip went up the spur a bit over a km upstream - carried 5L up to a dry camp at the top - hard work but great fun.

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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Wed 30 May, 2018 9:52 am

Just confirming, as of 26 Apr, Viking Saddle is dry - no water at the usually reliable point (1070m contour, down the NE side) nor a bit further down at the base of the 20m drop.

There was, however, good water at Camp Creek and Mac Springs - a normal flow rate for this time of year.


I don't imagine many have been through lately, but it would be great to hear if anyone knows if the Viking Saddle water has started to flow again. We're heading up on Friday. Unless we hear otherwise I think we'll have to assume it's dry and carry water from Camp Creek, but of course we'd rather not! Hoping to camp near Viking summit, so a top up at the saddle would be handy. 150mm in April and 110mm in May (at Buller) - surely that's enough to replenish the spring?
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Fri 01 Jun, 2018 10:44 am

We're heading up on Friday. Unless we hear otherwise I think we'll have to assume it's dry and carry water from Camp Creek, but of course we'd rather not! Hoping to camp near Viking summit, so a top up at the saddle would be handy. 150mm in April and 110mm in May (at Buller) - surely that's enough to replenish the spring?


Trip cancelled due to illness... Perfect weather forecast too. What a bummer, as it's last chance for us before road closures.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Sun 03 Jun, 2018 8:00 pm

Did the clock-wise three weeks ago. Short May days, light packs. Still dry in them thar hills, carried extra H2O from Camp ck to get to Wonnangatta, found a dribble of water at Catherine saddle SE down old spec rd, scrub bash in re-entrant, took 45 mins to trickle 5L worth. Razor had awesome cave with chockstone reminding us of the Aron Ralston book. Left Wonnangatta up untracked spur rather than suffer any time on Zeka, read plenty on this horror. Bush bash, tough but rewarding. Was expecting navigational challenge from Viking Sth onwards, end of dry months many have pushed through so easily tracked, had to go off route on last day so we coild get the compass out. First time completing this circuit and a certain addition to fav walks list, locking in a revist counter clockwise in Nov.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Sun 28 Oct, 2018 6:44 pm

Was expecting navigational challenge from Viking Sth onwards, end of dry months many have pushed through so easily tracked


After the cancelled June trip the Viking is back on the agenda for Cup weekend. Heremehappy1 was it even clear all the way down to the Wonnangatta? A couple of potential walkers would be much more likely to come along if that's the case! If they don't come however we're looking at doing the circuit from Upper Howqua. 17km extra (plus extra climbing) but should be do-able with long days and light packs. Better than that *&%$#! drive to Howitt Plains!
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Sun 28 Oct, 2018 9:06 pm

Knee high scrub from off viking sth, followed cliff line, good map-to-ground features and foot pad. Pink tape everywhere towards the bottom, so just took a bearing and walked tree to tree. Scrub bash up unnamed spur, plenty sambar tracks towards top.beats Zeka spur track.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby Drew » Mon 29 Oct, 2018 8:50 am

Knee high scrub from off viking sth, followed cliff line, good map-to-ground features and foot pad. Pink tape everywhere towards the bottom, so just took a bearing and walked tree to tree. Scrub bash up unnamed spur, plenty sambar tracks towards top.beats Zeka spur track.


Thanks. Sounds like it's not as bad as last time then.
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Re: Viking saddle water

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 29 Oct, 2018 6:58 pm

I have yet to walk / crawl / scrub bash the Viking circuit.
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